Could 92 Square Miles of Solar Panels satisfy all US Electrical Needs?

September 23, 2007 at 12:23 am | Posted in energy | Leave a comment

David Mills, chairman and chief scientific officer of solar company Ausra, recently presented a paper at the International Solar Energy Society conference saying that solar thermal plants could indeed solve all of our energy problems, including nighttime electricity.
The plants use mirrors arranged in a Fresnel configuration to heat tubes of liquid rather than solar cells that convert the sunlight directly into electricity. The steam produced by the heated liquids power turbines that create electricity. While not a new technique, Mills says the technology will allow liquids to hold heat and produce steam during the night also. The paper calculates that 92 square miles of solar thermal farm could power the entire country.

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